In the NFL draft, the first round gets all the attention but as we've seen over the years with Sean Payton and the Saints, it's the middle to later rounds where the Saints have struck gold.
With that in mind, I went a different route with my latest mock draft. Instead of forecasting the entire first round for all NFL teams, I decided to look at all seven Saints picks in this draft.
1.) Brandin Cooks WR Oregon St. (27th overall)
On my original mock draft I stated that if Brandin Cooks, Odell Beckham Jr., or Marquise Lee falls to 27 then the Saints will pick them. At that time I didn't feel like one will slip, thus I had them taking Kyle Fuller, CB out of Virginia Tech. Well now, I've changed my tune and believe Cooks will be available. Cooks can give the Saints a different dimension from the slot. Remember, Lance Moore was a precise route runner who was in the right spot at the right time. Cooks is much quicker version of Moore who, if he learns the system quickly can equal the production of some of Moore's best seasons.
2.) Chris Borland, ILB Wisconsin (52nd overall)
When I think about this Saints defense, I think one area that has been overlooked is inside linebacker. The Saints are thin at this position. Behind Curtis Lofton and David Hawthorne are Ramon Humber and Kevin Reddick. Both are solid players but it certainly wouldn't hurt to add a tackling machine who had 111 tackles his senior year at Wisconsin.
3.) Pierre Desir CB Lindenwood (91st overall)
As I've stated several times, I believe the Saints are building their secondary like the Legion of Boom in Seattle and in doing so they will need a big, press-type corner opposite Keenan Lewis. At 6'1 Desir can be that guy. Desir lit up the Combine with the top broad jump and 60-yard shuttle in his position group. He was one of the many defensive backs the Saints brought in for a visit last week and can be a small-school gem the Saints pride themselves on developing.
4.) Aaron Murray QB Georgia (126th overall)
I'll admit that this is a bold choice considering what else could possibly be available. I thought long before I made this pick and I finally convinced myself to do it. At some point the Saints have to think about the TRUE replacement to Drew Brees. Aaron Murray is the closest thing to Drew Brees since Brees came out of Purdue. He is small in stature, wildly productive, an underrated athlete with off the charts intangibles and stayed all four years and won a lot of games for Georgia. Plus, there is no rule that says you have to start a rookie quarterback right away. Waiting in the wings worked well for Aaron Rodgers. With how complicated this offense is, I'm convinced the patient route is the route the Saints must go with Brees' successor. If he is available at 126, the Saints should make the bold statement of taking Aaron Murray.
5.) Bryan Stork C Florida St. (167th overall)
With their first fifth round pick the Saints grab center Bryan Stork. Stork played at the highest level last year for BCS Champion Florida St. Center is also a position of great need for the Saints as there is no guarantee that Tim Lelito can truly get the job done. The Saints brought Stork in for a visit last week.
5.) Brandon Coleman WR Rutgers (169th overall)
One thing stands out about Coleman: size. At 6'6, Coleman is physically imposing. While at Rutgers, he averaged 15.8 yards per catch his senior year and 16.7 yards per catch his junior year. Scouts have knocked his lack of physicality but if he's available this late in the draft, he would certainly be worth taking a chance on.
6.) Marqueston Huff S Wyoming (202nd overall)